Popular satirical magazine the Spoof has been lambasted by the Trading Standards Authority for "a severe lack of professionalism and misleading the public."
In a 100 page report, the UK consumer watchdog body attacked the Spoof for "giving the impression that it was a fully staffed journalistic organisation that employs full-time professional, experienced writers."
Lead author of the study Ricardo De Freitas said that the Spoof had accumulated extensive advertising revenue by pretending to be a proper magazine with a huge readership.
"It was a complete scam by a gang of unscrupulous cyber criminals," he said. "I would like to take this opportunity to tell the world that the Spoof is nothing more than a bunch of agoraphobic misfits, mavericks and slackers dotted around the globe who really should get out more. We're almost certain that none of them have any hobbies let alone jobs."
De Freitas insisted that the Spoof had no premises, no employees and no record of any tax returns.
"I'm recommending to our superiors that we take this information to the police and urge them to start a criminal fraud investigation," he said. "Innocent people are taking part in internet discussions believing they are dealing with honest, scrupulous professional writers."
Spoof chief executive Selwyn Pierce was not available for comment but a certain Fitzroy Gibbons who claimed to be the magazine's ‘director of communications' vehemently denied the allegations. Speaking from outside an internet cafe in Frimley Green he described the TSA report as "absolute bollocks."
"All of our writers are 100 percent real, turn up for work in a real office and then go to the pub afterwards for a few bevvies just like any other working environment," he said. "It's just typical of this country that when something beautiful comes along, others feel they have to expose it as something evil."